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post #1 of 21 Old 06-14-2014, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Post Versys to a V-strom: Things I need to know

First a brief introduction: I'm new to this site. I've looked on here off and on for information about this bike and gear and whatnot over the past couple years but decided to join today so that I could ask a question that's been asked hundreds of times before. :mrgreen:

I currently own a 2011 Versys. Great bike, lots of fun, totally reliable, handles great, etc, etc. Lately, however, I've found myself riding distance more and more. The Versys(Vs), equipped with a 43 tooth rear sprocket, Baldwin saddle and Givi windscreen, is good for about 400 miles per day. After that it starts getting uncomfortable and by 500 miles I'm racing to get wherever I'm going just so I can get off the damn bike. It's the seat and the lack of real estate to work with that bothers me. I can't really move around to take the pressure off of spots as they get tired. My knees will get cramped occasionally but that's been getting better. I do the majority of my riding on either U.S. Routes or interstates if I'm just trying to get somewhere or make it through the Chicago/urban sprawl.

Before I bought the Vs I strongly considered a 2012 V-strom(Glee?). But at the time I thought the tidier dimensions of the Vs would be better. Plus, a local dealer was trying [I]really hard[I] to unload the 2011. So the deal on the Vs was much better. Fast forward to now and they have a 2014 V-strom 650 that I can work into my budget and I am strongly considering.

So, things I need to know:

1. At 6'1", 180-ish pounds with a 32" inseam is the Glee that much more spacious than the Vs? Does anybody have experience with a Vs with lowered pegs/bar risers compared to the Glee? I'd like to try a new bike just to try a new bike but if I can make the Vs work with a couple farkles versus shelling out for a new ride I should probably do that.

2. Is it that hard to fix the buffeting problem? I know some people say "What buffeting?" or "It's a motorcycle. It's going to be windy". But I've gotten the Vs to be comfortable in anything other than a strong crosswind and would like to know if it's possible/difficult to get the Glee to the same level. (I understand that this is a very subjective thing.)

3. What farkles do I need right away? I know I'm going to need a luggage stand-off for my Nelson-Rigg bags and I'm going to want a new screen right away. I've also read good things about a front fork brace. How's the stock seat? I tend to ride fuel stop-to-fuel stop. Is that doable with the stock set-up? It can't be any worse than the stock Vs seat but is it OK for some long-ish days? (Subjective, again, I know.)

4. Anything else I need to know? Anyone experienced with making this switch? Thoughts? I'm not worried about missing the sportiness of the Vs. I don't use the chassis anywhere near it's full capabilities and I effectively neutered the engine with the 43 tooth sprocket (I miss my wheelies a bit but it's soooo much better on the slab). I do plan on some gravel and fire service roads eventually but that will be rare.

I go back to the dealer next weekend for a test ride (did not expect them to offer that, at all).

I know at the end of the day it's my choice and I have to do whatever feels right to me but I like to have as much information as possible before I make large financial decisions.
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post #2 of 21 Old 06-14-2014, 07:13 PM
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...need to know

don't know about 2012's and later, but prior model 650's really benefit from cartridge fork emulators (per friends, there's benefit to adding aftermarket, recommended fork springs too). not sure if 2012's and post still have a problem with headlight current in right handlebar switch, if so EB headlight relay might save you some problems.
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post #3 of 21 Old 06-14-2014, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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As far as I know the suspension on the 2012 and up bikes is pretty well sorted out. Diving into the suspension is more than I would want to do on any bike.

That said, does anyone know how the V-strom rides compared to the Versus? The suspension on the Kawi is firm bordering on harsh. Especially with the crap roads we have in Northern Illinois after this past winter.
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post #4 of 21 Old 06-14-2014, 09:35 PM
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Dont know if yours has ABS, but my 13 650 is my first with it and I would be hard pressed to have another without. I am 6'01" 190 lbs and I have plenty of room and power. Not particularly comfortable in the seat area but better than all of the sport bikes I owned.

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post #5 of 21 Old 06-15-2014, 02:51 AM
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Not sure on this, but I am betting the 400 mile comfort limit is more you than the bike. You said you are getting knee cramps, but you are getting used to it. That's right; you have to build up conditioning sometimes to ride distance. And there are good days and bad days. A 400 mile day, on average, is already a good day's ride on back roads. I'd push the envelope a bit and experiment some more with farkles and try for 450 a few more times before I concluded it was machine and not man, that was limited. But it's up to you. I've noticed (it seems) some riders search endlessly for elusive bike nirvana at great expense to eliminate all discomfort, regardless of how minor. Maybe a Glee is a better platform; I don't know. But I'd be generally happy with 400 miles most days. Just a different perspective to think about.

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post #6 of 21 Old 06-15-2014, 08:16 AM
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The V-strom suspension takes the bumps very well and it's adjustable.
H4 relay kit from Eastern Beaver still applies for the newer model.
Long trips are what they are, some aftermarket seats help in that regard.
There won't be a night and day difference in rides but a test ride may help you decide what's best for you.

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post #7 of 21 Old 06-15-2014, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John V Strom, Jr. View Post
Not sure on this, but I am betting the 400 mile comfort limit is more you than the bike. You said you are getting knee cramps, but you are getting used to it. That's right; you have to build up conditioning sometimes to ride distance. And there are good days and bad days. A 400 mile day, on average, is already a good day's ride on back roads. I'd push the envelope a bit and experiment some more with farkles and try for 450 a few more times before I concluded it was machine and not man, that was limited. But it's up to you. I've noticed (it seems) some riders search endlessly for elusive bike nirvana at great expense to eliminate all discomfort, regardless of how minor. Maybe a Glee is a better platform; I don't know. But I'd be generally happy with 400 miles most days. Just a different perspective to think about.
Yeah, I know that you have to build up a tolerance for distance riding. I stretch before the ride and at fuel stops. The knee cramps got better after I put crash bars on the bike. Just having somewhere to shift my feet to for a couple minutes helps a lot. The plan was to also put highway pegs on it but I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

400 miles is a good day but I find myself wanting and sometimes needing to go further, hence the dilemma. I know that no bike is going to be 100% comfortable for a full 12 hour day. Not one that I can afford or would even be interested in, at least. You kind of nailed it with your 3rd to last sentence. I'm looking for a better platform. The Versys is a great bike but it leans more toward the sport side of things whereas my riding style leans more towards touring.
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post #8 of 21 Old 06-15-2014, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsinpei View Post
The V-strom suspension takes the bumps very well and it's adjustable.
H4 relay kit from Eastern Beaver still applies for the newer model.
Long trips are what they are, some aftermarket seats help in that regard.
There won't be a night and day difference in rides but a test ride may help you decide what's best for you.
Does it do OK with mid-corner bumps? The Versys is a dream through the twisty's until your leaned over and hit that frost heave in the road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpd419 View Post
Dont know if yours has ABS, but my 13 650 is my first with it and I would be hard pressed to have another without. I am 6'01" 190 lbs and I have plenty of room and power. Not particularly comfortable in the seat area but better than all of the sport bikes I owned.
The Versys doesn't have ABS (it's not offered with ABS in the States) and that's been another consideration. It's one of those extra things that makes me think I might like the Glee more even if it's not a huge difference in riding dynamics. I also like the gear indicator, external temp gauge and the thumb switch for the dash info. Beats having to reach up to the panel to figure out what time it is vs how far you've gone.
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post #9 of 21 Old 06-15-2014, 11:18 AM
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I've never owned a Versys, but have demo'd it. To your point there *does* seem to be more "real estate" on both the V-Strom stock, and aftermarket seats (I have both).

Your 2nd question, I'm only 5'9", so don't have your perspective. That being said, you have taller seat options, and (from what I've seen) an excellent peg lowering kit from Richland Rick at Adventuretech (watched him install one at the VStrom rally last month, and it's a nice bit of kit of that's your preference).

Buffeting. I have a Madstad screen and bracket (which I'd have done *without* any buffeting), and Mismo deflectors. I have zero issues (but, again, I'm 5'9, not 6'1". Opinions vary here).

I also have the front fork brace, the Dan Vesel standoff you're talking about (it can come with an "agri-tube" for an extra $5), and a Sargent seat. Seats are very objective (I have a Sargent, and can ride non-stop all day without any noticeable issues), but the fork brace, and Dan Vesel standoff are *excellent*. I could have lived without both, but, if it's not a budget crunch, they're well worth it.

My other farkles are standard fare: topcase, tanklock bag, PC-8 fuse block, GPS mount from Adventuretech, etc.

One of the big attractions of the Strom (and mine's a Glee as well), is how malleable it is. There's little that isn't available for it, if you need a small or larger mod...

[B][I]Barry[/I]
2017 Pearl White 650[/B]
AdventureTech lowering links and GPS mount
AdventureTech +2" SS braided brake line
Madstad windscreen
GPI spools, SW Motech risers
Givi XS307 Tanklock bag and Givi 46L top case
Suzuki hard case saddlebags
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post #10 of 21 Old 06-15-2014, 11:26 AM
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I don't care what bike you're on, sitting in one position would get me no matter what - which is why reclining in a big bucket car seat is where it's at. No motorcycle is more comfortable for traveling than a cage. That said, there's lots of things you can do to make moto-travelling more comfortable.

You will want an aftermarket seat. Lots love the big overstuffed barcalounger seats by Russell, Mayer, etc...those tractor seats that plop you in one position, but it's a fully supported/cradled position. Many love these one position fits all seats, but they drive me insane. I'm a seat scooter - I like to move forward, back and side to side - can't sit still. The stock seat lets you move around, but for most, 1-2 hrs is it before the softer foam gets ya.....firmer foam/gel is the way to go. It may seem counter intuitive, but that seems to be the case. I'm 6-0, 32" inseam 200lbs, so I'm about the same size as you, and the Vstrom fits so nice - plenty of legroom to stretch out. I never feel squeezed or confined.

I've had good results with Saddlemen seats - the biggest comfort factor is the additional fore-aft real estate offered by their suede surfaced Adventure Track seat. I really love this seat. Longest ride I've done on it was a bit over 3 hrs on country two lanes and dirt roads, and it was the first time I'd actually thought "wow, my butt isn't even sore".....it's a great seat for me. My entire body gets physically tired instead of my butt - which is a nice change!

Before I bought my vstrom, I'd ventured into my local Kawa dealership to check out the Versys, since those two bikes were going toe to toe at the time. I've always deemed myself a Kawasaki guy, so I had high hopes. It's a nice looking bike, but one leg swing over the saddle, and I knew it wasn't for me. It's a lot smaller than the Vstrom, and that concerned me because I wanted to kit it up with hard bags/top case, and the tiny dimensions turned me off the bike. The vstrom 650 is so much larger, it's a much better platform for long-distance kitting up - and that long wheelbase is great on the open road. Throw some different handlebars on, a aftermarket seat, madstadt adjustable bracket for the windscreen, and you're good to go....And in the twisties, the Vstrom is a willing partner in any shenanigans you want to pull off. It may not be a glamorous bike, but as most vstrommers here will attest, it's a bike that gets under your skin. It's a fantastic canvas to tweak.

"Side effects may include: Mild kidney explosions...Testicular cranberrying... And Rectal hallucinations."

Last edited by jokermtb; 06-15-2014 at 11:31 AM.
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